Did you know that being a PreSales professional will amplify your creativity in unexpected
I have always been a creative person. In fact, I was an art major in school, but I transitioned to business where there was more job certainty at the time. While I used my creative side in business, I found ways to nurture my creative side outside my day-to-day role in tech. I love to bake and cook, write, paint, draw, sculpt, take photos – you name it… if it’s creative, I love it.
Several years ago, I switched from post-sales (strategy consulting) to PreSales because I was good at it, there was a need for it, and I found I could significantly impact my company by helping win big deals. With my background in customer experience and sales execution, I knew I could deliver a great buying experience to prospects and customers. I was fortunate to work with leaders who recognized my creativity and talent, resulting in the creation of a new role for me as the Director of Solutions Consulting.
Here are five ways that I have found PreSales amplifies creativity.
1. Memorable Presentations. Gone are the days of doing long demos for prospects and customers. In today’s market, it’s important to create short, use-case presentations and micro demos that are memorable and help you stand out from the competition. That takes creativity… You want to avoid typical jargon and create lasting and impactful presentations. From creating demos to creating visuals and graphics to convey your messages, your creativity will be maximized.
2. Personalization. People buy from people they know and trust. Building rapport and trust is not only important for sellers, but also for Solutions Consultants and Sales Engineers. As PreSales professionals, we’re responsible for cultivating meaningful relationships with our peers, creating personalized demos and presentations that speak to our prospect/customers’ needs. You want to make these interactions address their specific goals, pressures, obstacles, and the initiatives they are working. Whether you’re in a competitive situation with another vendor or their option to “do nothing/status quo,” it takes personalization to become a trusted partner. Find ways to personalize everything so it resonates with your audience. Sometimes you’re speaking with project sponsors and other times you’ve got only a few minutes to ‘wow’ an executive. Other times you’re being asked to confirm technical capabilities and give technical teams assurance that what you’re proposing is a valid and sound solution that will be a great fit to their existing tech stack. Knowing your audience and creatively personalizing your message will ensure it resonates effectively.
3. Painting a Vision. It is important for SCs/SEs to join discovery calls with sellers so we can hear what the prospect is saying firsthand and ask questions of our own. What questions can you ask during that discovery session to help you paint a vision for the prospect? Understanding their current state and desired future state is important, but don’t underestimate your ability to ask innovative questions that will help spark imagination during your presentations. Use what you’ve heard in your discovery to paint a clear and strong vision of how your product/solution/team’s expertise will help them. Be creative in what you propose and paint a vision of what’s possible… with today’s tech stack extensibility, being creative helps you win.
4. Telling Stories. We know that storytelling is key to a great presentation (“Facts tell, but stories sell”). It’s important the stories you tell are factually accurate and resonate with your buyers. You may have a specific customer who is having great success with your solution -sharing specific segments of their story will enable your prospect to see themselves in their shoes – as a similar successful customer. Calling out a few specific parts of customers’ stories and incorporating them in relevant places throughout your presentation or demo takes creativity. Be unique and offer tailored insights using storytelling. It shows evidence that you’ve helped others successfully solve a similar problem. Knowing how and when to incorporate those soundbites will take your creativity to a whole new level.
5. Communicating Value. What are the outcomes your prospect or customer is trying to achieve? How can you come up with compelling messaging that will help you communicate the value your company will provide to them? How can you show you’re an extension of their team and that you want to provide value along their buying journey? It takes creativity to think outside of the box and suggest eBooks and third-party research your sellers might not have thought of. It’s important to send the right information, at the right time, to the right people during the sales cycle. Finding value-driven insights to help your prospect as they evaluate solutions to their problem is a great way to leverage your creativity!
With multiple generations in the workforce and overwhelming amounts of information available to buyers, I have found using simplicity and creativity helps revenue teams be successful. My own creativity and the creativity of our Solutions Consulting team continues to grow.
Whether you’re helping to expand an existing customer’s business, cross-selling a new product/solution/service to an existing customer, or generating new business, your role as a PreSales professional will amplify your creativity!
If I can help you in any way, please reach out to me on LinkedIn. I absolutely love what I do, and I love the PreSales profession and know it is a phenomenal career for creatives!
Deirdre Sommerkamp is currently VP of Solutions Consulting, Operations and Enablement for the Enterprise Sales & Marketing business unit at Upland Software. As a technology, customer experience and sales execution thought leader, she is passionate about simplifying the complex, solving problems with technology and delivering better customer experiences through revenue team collaboration. Her expertise and passion have made her an in-demand speaker at industry conferences.